Football 2 years ago

Victory, Wanderers fans to stage protest

  • Victory, Wanderers fans to stage protest
  • Victory, Wanderers fans to stage protest

Two of the A-League's biggest supporter groups will stage mid-match walkouts this weekend in what they say is a protest against Football Federation Australia's (FFA) treatment of active fans.

Melbourne Victory's North Terrace and Western Sydney Wanderers' Red and Black Bloc announced the plans in separate statements on Facebook late on Tuesday afternoon, continuing the furious reaction from the football community to a News Corp Australia report naming and shaming 198 people banned from A-League matches.

Both groups say at a specific moment during their team's matches - Victory face Adelaide United on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium, while the Wanderers take on the Mariners at Central Coast Stadium the next day - they will simply stop cheering and walk out of the stadium, and will continue to do so until a "resolution" is reached.

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This could involve around 2000 fans at each match - the regular supporter group turnout for home fixtures and potentially as many for the Wanderers who only have to travel up the coast.

"Some things are bigger than one match of football. We cannot continue to ignore the situation where our basic rights are trodden on and our banned supporters are left in the dark," the North Terrace's statement read.

The North Terrace even went on to list their three demands of the FFA - that the governing body condemns the News Corp report, launch an investigation into how the list of banned fans was leaked, and introduce an "independent and transparent" appeals process for those supporters who feel they have been banned unfairly.

Currently, FFA is able to issue bans as it sees fit with no avenue to appeal, which has long been a source of fan discontent.

It's understood that several of those named and pictured in News Corp publications are considering legal action for defamation. While the news group described the list as a "football shame file", not all of those listed were for violent conduct.

The Red and Black Bloc pointed the blame for the privacy breach squarely at FFA, and claimed some of those banned were not even at the events at which they allegedly engaged in anti-social behaviour.

"There are rumours of how the leak eventuated but, nonetheless, the FFA cannot avoid being held accountable," their statement read.

"This confidential information falls under the FFA's jurisdiction, and they are complicit in it being exposed.

"People's lives and livelihoods have been jeopardised due to the existence of a list that has been created without due process. Many of these fans, some of which are under 18, have not been charged or convicted of offences."

"The FFA's silence is deafening. They have treated fans with contempt once again, and active support around the country is standing up to a corporation that sees itself as above the law.

"A disgraceful organisation, from the top down."

FFA has stayed largely silent since the report, so far only issuing a one-sentence statement from A-League head Damien de Bohun on Monday reserving its right to have "strong banning processes and robust security planning" in order to keep football's "true fans" safe.

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